Date of Graduation

Fall 12-13-2013

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Public Affairs (MoPA)


Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good

First Advisor

Corey Cook

Second Advisor

Jelena Hasbrouck

Third Advisor

Angela Fleekop


In this analytical paper, I advocate for the use of social marketing techniques in a campaign targeted towards Central Valley communities with the primary objective of reducing this population’s opposition to the state’s High-Speed Rail project. A secondary objective is to use this strategy to promote positive attitudes towards sustainable practices in general. The goal is to stimulate a change in regional culture, which will support the behavioral changes needed to protect California’s natural resources and reduce our state’s contribution to climate change. I argue: 1) creating a sustainable transit infrastructure with high-speed rail as its centerpiece will reduce harmful carbon emissions while simultaneously boosting the state’s struggling economy, 2) California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has a vast budget that is not being used properly for community outreach and communication, and 3) the use of social marketing techniques will produce positive results in both the short and long term. My findings are based on a review of academic and grey literatures, as well as personal communication with staff, policy makers, and communication specialists at the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. I suggest the next step for the CHSRA would be to design a project with social marketing at its center. The project should use multiple benchmarks to facilitate a comprehensive evaluation of the efficacy of social marketing as a tool for government outreach.